South Dakota's first Passive House apartments to benefit low-income families

When Copper Pass apartments in eastern Sioux Falls opens in September, they will be the first of their kind in South Dakota.

The structure will be the state’s first multi-family housing building designed to meet international Passive House standards — a rigorous energy efficiency credential that only a couple of other projects in the state have attempted to earn, reports Argus Leader.

Designed and built in coordination with the governor’s office and state housing officials, the 30-unit apartment is both energy efficient and affordable.

Copper Pass will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom rentals. Units are reserved for families who qualify for federal low-income housing guidelines, earning 60 percent of median income or less.

Copper Pass, the first of three such buildings, will be part of a years-long experiment in energy efficiency. Builders worked on the design and modeled it with help from the Passive House Institute of the U.S.

Costello’s second building, which will be called Majestic Ridge, will be Energy Star certified. The developer is installing monitoring devices in both to track energy efficiency and see if the utility savings of Passive House design makes a difference on the bottom line.

Many of the elements used to design Copper Pass go far beyond what local and state governments require, officials said. The entire building is wrapped in extra insulation, from floor to roof. The windows are triple pane and should feel just as warm to the touch as the walls.

Other elements aimed at generating efficiencies include an energy recovery ventilation system designed to bring in fresh air, sealant applied between beams for air-tightness and a flat roof with solar panels that reflect heat and offset energy use by tenants.


Topics: Building Green, Cost of Ownership, Passive House, Solar Power, Sustainable Communities

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